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1938 Jefferson Nickel, Presentation Piece

1938 Jefferson Nickel, Presentation Piece

In early 1938 the Commission of Fine Arts announced an open competition to design a new nickel with the likeness of Thomas Jefferson. There were 390 artists who answered the call and submitted designs, some of them well known, some of them relatively unknown. I am sure that it didn’t hurt that in the midst of the Great Depression that there was a $1,000 prize for the winning design.

Amongst the aforementioned 390 artists, it was Felix Schlag’s design that was accepted. As is common practice then, and now, artists found way to further capitalize on their new found fame. With that in mind, Mr. Schlag acquired 150 Proof versions of new nickel from the mint and had them framed so as to sell them to the public.

In frames measuring approximately 9×11, Mr. Schlag signed the mat-board and had them notarized on September 20th, 1939, nearly one year after issue. The inside reads as follows:

“FIRST PRIZE WINNER AMONG 390 COMPETING ARTISTS IN THE NATIONAL COMPETITION FOR A NEW FIVE CENT COIN, APRIL 20,1938 (SIGNED) ‘FELIX SCHLAG’ SCULPTOR”

PROOF JEFFERSON NICKEL 1938

UPON REQUEST FELIX SCHLAG-DESIGNER OF THIS COIN HAS CONSENTED TO SIGN 150 PROOF JEFFERSON NICKELS-OF WHICH THE COIN ABOVE IS NUMBER __-SWORN TO BEFORE ME THIS 29TH DAY OF SETPEMB. A.D. 1939

Signed illegibly,

NOTARY PUBLIC

At Numismatic Americana Incorporated we have bought and sold many of the available 150 pieces over the years, including the number 1 specimen. These are great items for the collector of American history, Jefferson nickels, or just someone looking for a nice piece to hang in their den. We are proud to offer the following pieces for your consideration.

1938 Jefferson Nickel, Presentation Piece #145

1938 Jefferson Nickel, Presentation Piece #145

Number 145. In a modern frame (done by us), as close as possible to the original. Insides are very fresh, and this would look great on any Numismatist’s wall.

Priced at: $1,750.00

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Unsigned Plaster Model for the Jefferson Nickel Competition of 1938

Unsigned Plaster Model for the Jefferson Nickel Competition of 1938

A Treasury Department Art Projects Bulletin, No. 14, of 1938 announced an open competition for the design of the new Jefferson nickel. Although the competition was open to the public, there had been a number of announcements already mailed off to known artists who might be interested and capable. The winner of the competition would receive $1,000 and the committee to pick the winner would be composed of Nellie Tayloe Ross, Director of the Mint along with the sculptors Sidney Waugh, Albert Stewart and Heinz Warneke. Two of the major requirements were that the models could not be signed and that any artist that would have liked to have had his or her models returned would have to pay for the return shipping. Additional detailed instructions as to the format and content were included in the announcement. Approximately 390-entries were submitted and, unfortunately, the great majority of those entries have not been found and/or connected to their artists. The winner of the competition was of course Felix Schlag, with Honorable Mention going to Henry Kreis. Kreis is better known to modern numismatists as the designer of the Connecticut and Bridgeport commemorative half dollars and the artist who engraved the obverse of the Robinson commemorative half dollar. Although Schlag won the competition, the final reverse design chosen to be placed into production bore little resemblance to his dramatic three-quarters view of Monticello.

The plaster model included here is without signature marks of any type.  It is a snowy white obverse model with IN GOD WE TRUST behind Jefferson’s head, LIBERTY spaced widely directly above his portrait and spaced widely and centered beneath. The model has very visible, raised guidelines for the letters and numbers and some mild staining by TY of LIBERTY. The reverse and sides are essentially unmarked with a few chips noted near the base, which are not visible when looking directly at the plaster.

The model is approximately 8-1/2 x ¾ inches.

 

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Contact Information

Numismatic Americana Incorporated
P.O. Box 608
Chester, NJ 07930

William Shamhart, Jr.
email: Bill@numismaticamericana.com

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If you have items to SELL please stop by our table and we will be happy to discuss purchasing them

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